Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Short takes: If its ugly in print, might as well make it ugly on a tablet, too; still waiting on some storms

The Huntington herald-Dispatch has released a replica edition iPad app for its print newspaper yesterday. No word on why they would want to do this, but they did it anyways. Yeah, it ain't pretty.
As you can see by the screen capture, it truly is a replica edition, though I see that they included links on the page jumps -- that was nice of them.

Both the app and the access is free. The Herald-Dispatch is owned by Champion Publishing, based in Huntington, West Virginia. It has a daily circulation of around 29K and 35K on Sundays.

The same major news stories that were dominating things this morning continue today with very little change: Protesters showed up in the millions in Cairo, but nothing still no word on Mubarak -- though rumor has it that he might speak tonight (local time) and announce he will not run for reelection; A terrible cyclone, now at category 5, is bearing down on Queensland, Australia -- land fall is estimated to be at 10 pm tonight (local time, Wednesday); A major winter storm continues to move towards the midwest with blizzard warnings due to become active at 3 pm CST -- 12 to 24 inches of snow is forecast.

Then there is the big story or non-story concerning Apple changing its app store policies. The NYT this morning reported that Apple had rejected the Sony Reader app because it included the ability to buy books from within the app while bypassing Apple's App Store -- that would be a violation of developer guidelines. That's simple enough, but the story goes on to say that this would also effect Amazon's Kindle iOS apps -- something that seems unlikely as Amazon takes you outside the app to its own online store to buy books.

Now Jay Yarow, writing for Business Insider, says that yep, this would include all apps and even gets a quote from Apple spokesperson Trudy Miller: "We are now requiring that if an app offers customers the ability to purchase books outside of the app, that the same option is also available to customers from within the app with in-app purchase."

I still don't buy it. Attacking Amazon so directly would seem to be counterproductive -- after all, the Kindle app helps sell iPads. But then again, after I learned that Amazon has designed its Kindle Publishing solutions so that the new Kindle products could not be read on Kindle apps, but could only be read on actual Kindle devices, well, that seemed like a bit of an attack on all other tablet makers.

I would really like clarification from Apple on this. Then, if this proves to be much ado about nothing ... well, let's say that a few writers will have some 'splainin' to do.